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Movie Review

Run All Night

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language including sexual references, and some drug use.

Reviewed by: Curtis McParland

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action Crime Thriller Mystery Drama
1 hr. 54 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 13, 2015 (wide—3,150+ theaters)
DVD: June 16, 2015
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

being haunted by sinful past actions

strained father-son relationships

results of living a life of crime


protecting one’s family

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

evil world of crime and murder

sin and the fall of man

drunkenness and illegal drug use

Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

What is goodness and righteousness?

Do Not Enter

Featuring: Liam NeesonJimmy Conlon
Genesis Rodriguez … Gabrielle
Joel Kinnaman … Mike Conlon
Vincent D'Onofrio … Detective Harding
Ed HarrisShawn Maguire
Boyd Holbrook … Danny Maguire
CommonMr. Price
Bruce McGill … Pat Mullen
Holt McCallany … Frank
more »
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra—“Unknown,” “Orphan,” “House of Wax
Producer: Energy Entertainment
Vertigo Entertainment
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

“One night to settle the score.”

Mike Conlon (Joel Kinnaman) wants to have nothing to do with his father, Jim (Liam Neeson). Jim was once a former hitman, but regrets every action from his past… and how it affected his family’s life. But after Mike witnesses the brutal murder of two drug dealers, Jim is forced back into action in order to save his son’s life. However, things aren’t that simple.

Jim’s former boss, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), is now after both his and Mike’s lives, after Jim killed Shawn’s son, Danny. In order to cover up his crime, Danny attempted to murder Mike, but Jim shot him in an act of self-defense. Mike always tries to do the right thing and notifies the police immediately. However, he gets kidnapped by two thugs posing as policemen and once again Jim has to come to his aid.

But now both Jim and Mike are being hunted down by not only Shawn’s hitmen, but the police as well. Jim wants to make things right with Mike, while trying to prove his son’s innocence. Mike rebukes his father and forbids him from even seeing his own grandchildren. Can Jim gain back Mike’s trust? Can they both “run all night”?

“Run All Night” is pretty much your typical action film. However, director Jaume Collet-Serra helps weave in some twists and edge of your seat moments. Sadly, the script is fairly weak due to lack of originality and contains typical action film dialog. For a film like this, the screenplay could have been much stronger, which would have added many more thrills. “Run All Night” also suffers from some choppy editing techniques, as well. The average moviegoer may not notice, but there is some lack in continuity and some uneven cuts between shots which could be bothersome to some viewers. Pursuing a degree in film myself, elements like these can be most annoying!

Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, and Ed Harris are all in fine form. Once again, Neeson proves to be one of the best action stars in recent memory.

The real concern here, though, is the content in “Run All Night”. There is no sexual content, but the film is filled with plenty of crude and, sometimes a bit graphic, sexual references. Part of an adult magazine is seen, but it is not graphic and is viewed from a distance. From mentions of human anatomy to sex acts, “Run All Night” does not refrain from strong vulgar references. The language is relatively strong as we hear around 20 of both F- (used sexually as well) and S-words, close to half a dozen misuses of both God’s (paired with d**n mainly) and Jesus’ names, and a handful of other profanities including a**, b**ch, and h*ll. We also hear a few vulgar terms like d*ck, p*ss, and “screwed”.

There is plenty of bloodshed, and the violence is quite brutal, at times, as we witness plenty of frenetic gunplay and intense fist fights. There are a few graphic gunshots to the head, intense car chases and crashes, explosions, fires, stabbings, and bloody wounds seen on screen. One man suffers after being shot in the throat, another is stabbed brutally in the neck, and one more gets repeatedly stabbed in the back. A thug is strangled to death and one more gets his face seared as he is forced into a burning wall. A corpse is seen in a mortuary.

Hard liquor is consumed frequently in the film, and we see one character drunk. Smoking is a regular act for characters throughout the film. Since the main theme of the film involves drug smuggling, drugs get plenty of screen time, as we see characters consuming cocaine, dealing drugs, and acting under the influence. Heroine is also seen.

I wouldn’t call “Run All Night” a revenge tale, but a tale of a man merely trying to protect his son after waking up from a wrongful past.

“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” —Luke 13:3 (ESV)

One thing I found unique within the story was the fact that the antagonist wanted revenge, not the protagonist. Leviticus 19:18 sends a clear message about the wrongfulness in revenge:

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

Mike is not only a man who cares for his family, but his community as well as he volunteers to work with fatherless boys. However, it takes an attempted murder on his own life that ends up reuniting him with his father. “Run All Night” shares great themes of self-sacrifice, loyalty, family love, and repentance. Seeing two separate loving and caring fathers on screen was quite refreshing. John 15:13 says,

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

Jim wakes up from his murderous past and wants to protect his son from the evil he becomes involved in. At one point, Jim even tells Mike not to pull the trigger on a thug, because it will only worsen the current situation. James 2:13 comes to mind:

“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

“Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished…” —Proverbs 11:21a

”Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…” —Philippians 3:13

Jim regrets every moment from his past and does what he can to move forward in life by reconnecting with his family. He even goes as far to say “Just because I am not behind bars does not mean I’m not paying for what I did.” It’s his inner-being, his conscience, that is disturbing him—that still, small voice—the Transcendent. God. “I have no one left in my life because of the things I’ve done.” Jim realizes he is broken, and his first step is to mend his relationships. Jim eventually apologizes to Mike for all of the evil he exposed him to to as a child. Although Mike rebukes his father throughout most of the film, he eventually realizes that Jim is making a genuine change in his life for the better.

Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out…” —Acts 3:19

“For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.” —Colossians 3:25

Although “Run All Night” contains these moving themes, I cannot recommend it due to its strong violence, language, and sexual references. “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10). Overall, “Run All Night” is more or less a story of repentance. It is a dark film (especially since most of it takes place at night), but also contains some strong moral roots. Perhaps this violent, yet redemptive story is a step in the right direction for Hollywood, though. Sadly, audiences today view profanity, sexuality, and graphic violence as “normal” by our modern society’s standards. But story’s like “Run All Night” could start to tug at the heart strings of moviegoers and make them feel convicted of their own sins. Unfortunately, content such as strong violence distract audiences from these redemptive themes. “Run All Night” may still be an eye-opener for some, though, and may help one realize (as the tagline says) that “No sin goes unpunished,” whether it be in this life or the next.

“A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up…” —Ecclesiastes 3:3

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—An absolutely terrible movie all round. I would not recommend that anyone see it, as a Christian, I just found everything about it offensive. The language and storyline are really not worth it—give it a miss!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—SH, age 39 (South Africa)
Movie Critics

…Liam Neeson does his thing, and does it well, in this robustly satisfying Irish-American mob thriller …turns the spectacle of mass killing into a job well done…
—Justin Chang, Variety

…An overqualified cast… Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (“Non-Stop” and “Unknown”), lavishes the story with whooshing aerial cameras and shadowy rat-warren interiors. … [2½/4]
—Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

…murder, mayhem and madness… the vicious eviscerations and crazy contusions just continue and continue and continue. …
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In

“Run All Night” is coasting on fumes … Not a single one of these characters has a back story or a spiritual burden that we care about…
—Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

…a serviceable mob thriller… routine in its contours, occasionally sloppy in its editing and filled with the usual implausibilities… [2½/4]
—Kyle Smith, New York Post

…frankly, it blurs a little into the rest of the Lethal Liam movies. …Collet-Sera sends his camera hurtling around on computer-assisted journeys like a mad pinball…
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

…Father and son bond amid gangland gore… The pace is breakneck, and necks get broken. But the violence is relentless, ugly, unredeemed by any real humanity. …
—Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

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